At 79, winemaker Francis d’Arry Osborn’s life of high achievement is a result of following his nose.
In 1912 d’Arry’s grandfather bought a vineyard in McLaren Vale, South Australia and for some decades the company produced ‘big, thick, dark’ red wines on contract, intended for blending and sale in Europe.
In 1943 the sixteen-year-old d’Arry left school to work in the vineyard. In 1959 he designed and bottled the first of the famous ‘red stripe’ wines, which immediately began to win major trophies.
He doesn’t claim to have a refined palate, he says, but it is certainly an experienced one. His career is studded with awards, including Australia’s most prestigious wine award, the Jimmy Watson trophy, 250 gold medals, 500 silver medals and over 1,000 bronze medals as well as positions in recognition of his enormous influence in the Australian wine industry.
He gives much of the credit for his success to his beloved McLaren Vale.
‘We were blessed with my grandfather buying a vineyard, and it’s a lovely bit of dirt,’ he says. ‘So much good wine is made by appreciating that some soils produce better wines than others.
‘It’s a matter of following your nose, and your palate,’ he says.
D’Arenberg Wines use traditional winemaking methods, and have consistently won the most converted trophies.
Francis d’Arry Osborn was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004 for service to the Australian wine industry and to the McLaren Vale region for his commitment to the region’s economic development. The Medal recognises achievements of people like d’Arry who are making a difference to their local community and contributing to a better Australia.